|Killed In Action||6||129||135|
|Seriously Wounded In Action||3||89||92|
|Lightly Wounded In Action||37||435||472|
|Seriously Injured In Action||0||2||2|
|Lightly Injured In Action||7||71||78|
|Missing In Action||2||11||13|
|Type||Destroyed or Abandoned||Evacuated|
|Car, Armored, Light M8||2||1|
|Carr. Mtr, 105mm How., M7||1|
|Carrier, Pers, H/T, M3 & M3AI||18||3|
|Tank, Light M5AI||6||6|
|Tank, Med. M4, M4Ai, M4A3, w/75||10||4|
|Tank, Med. M4A3, w/76||1||3|
|Tank, Med. M4, w/105mm How||1|
|Trailer, Amo M10||7|
|Truck, 1/4 Ton, 4X4||25||3|
|Truck, 2 1/2 ton, 6x6, Cargo||12||6|
|Trailer, 1 ton, Cargo||16||2|
|Truck,Trailer,40 Ton,M1,Tk Tms,M25||1|
|Truck,Wrecking, 10 Ton, M1||1|
|Truck,3/4 Ton, 4X4 w/o winch||1|
|Truck, 2 1/2 Ton, 6X6, Dump, w/winch||1|
3. AMMUNITION EXPENDITURES AND LOSSES
|Type||Expended||Loss Due to Enemy Action|
On 1 September 1944 units of the units of the Division were comnanded by the following named officers:
5th Armd Div - MAJ GEN LUNSFORD E OLIVER, 03536, USA
Combat Command "A", 5th Armd Div - BRIG GEN EUGENE REGNIER, 08295, USA
Hq & Hq Co, Combat Command "A" - CAPT KARL W. ROTH, 01010340, INF
Combat Command "B", 5th Armd Div - COL JOHN T COLE, 05256, CAV
Hq & Hq Co, Combat Command "B" - CAPT JOE W PERRY, 01012397, INF
5th Armd Div Arty - COL DOUGLAS J PAGE, 04495, FA
Hq & Hq Btry, 5th Armd Div Arty - CAPT NORMAN W CUSISK, 0466787 FA
Reserve Command, 5th Armd Div - COL GLEN H ANDERSON, 08632, INF
Hq Co., 5th Armd Div - CAPT LARRY H GREENWOOD, 01263065, INF
Hq 5th Armd Div Tn - COL GUSTIN M NELSON, 014512, INF
Hq Co, 5th Armd Div Tn - CAPT JAMES R BAGWELL, 01011081, CAV
MP Platoon, 5th Armd Div - MAJ ALEXANDER T NELSEN, 0335298, CAV
145th Armd Sig Co - CAPT GLENN A WELDE, 0453447, SC
85th Cav Rcn Sq Mecz - MAJ JOHN P GERALD, 023009, CAV
10th Tank Bn - LT COL WILLIAM A HAMBERG, 0292156, INF
34th Tank Bn - MAJ GLENN L FOOTE, 0450438, CAV
81st Tank Bn - LT COL LE ROY H ANDERSON, 0239452 INF
15th Amd Inf Bn - LT COL KENNETH P GILSON, 0359160, INF
46th Armd Inf Bn - MAJ WILLIAM H BURTON, 0366028, INF
47th Armd Inf Bn - LT COL HOWARD E BOYER , 0218680, INF
47th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JOHN B REOSENZWEIG, 0246291, FA
71st Armd FA Bn - LT COL ISRAEL B WASHBURN, 0235367, FA
95th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JAMES W MC NEER, 0223703, FA
22d Armd Engr Bn - LT COL FRED E ROSSEGIEG, 020575, CE
127th Ord Maint Bn - MAJ RONALD S BIERSACH, 0318269, ORD
75th Med Bn, Armd - LT COL BENJAMIN H BADER, 0372570, MC
At 0150, 1 September 1944, CCA with the 47th and 400th Armd FA Bns attached was attached to the 4th Infantry Division. Task Force Burton of CCA was advancing rapidly Northward in the Eastern part of the Corps Sector.
The attack on the town or COMPIEGNE progressed slowly with elements of the 112th Inf Regt, 28th Infantry Division, entering the town at 0138, 1 September. Bridges were destroyed by the enemy here and at other places on the river, but our Engineers rapidly constructed bridges, and the Division pushed on. During the early hours of 1 September a combat team of the 28th Infantry Division was attached to assist CCR to clear the forest in an attack in the direction of CHOISSY. Contact between the CT and CCR was made at 0730. At 1115 CCR reported that both columns were moving satisfactorily against minor resistance, and that the infantry was being carried forward on the tanks. At 1400, they were moving into CHOISSY and found the bridges there had been blown.
Most of the opposition in the FORET DE COMPIEGNE came from elements of the 47th Infantry Division and the 312th Mobile Battalion. Both the 104th Infantry Regiment of the 47th Infantry Division and the 312th Mobile Battalion suffered very severe losses at the hands of CCR before they withdrew across the AISNE RIVER to the North. The 348th Infantry Division, sharing the defense of the area with the 47th Division, was also driven to the North, but managed to withdraw without heavy losses.
Meanwhile, at 0535, orders for the advance of the Division were received. The mission was to proceed rapidly North to the Corps Objective: COUDE on the Belgian border.
CCB was ordered to cross the river at the earliest possible time and to proceed rapidly North until contact was made with the 4th Infantry Division or elements of CCA, then to follow on their axis. It was presumed that the 4th Division with CCA would effect a crossing to the East, prior to the crossing of the 5th Armored Division at COMPIEGNE and PONT ST MAXENCE.
The bridge at PONT ST MAXENCE was completed at 1300 1 September. The left column of CCB crossed at 1600 and advanced steadily with no enemy resistance. The Division CP at this time was about three (3) kilometers South of COMPIEGNE. At 1700, CCR was ordered to make contact with CCB at COMPIEGNE and be prepared to follow the Division Troops' column across the bridge and to move North following CCB's route, prepared to move abreast and to the right of CCB following 4th Division elements. The bridge at COMPIEGNE was completed at 1815 and the remainder of CCB started crossing at 1820. The advance was rapid until 2200 when enemy resistance consisting of anti-tank artillery and dug-in infantry with rocket launchers was encountered just North of CHIRY.
By the close of operations at midnight on 1 September, the main body of the enemy was North of NOYON. The enemy was using road blocks, artillery, and mortar fire to impede our advance. Enemy casualties for the day were: killed 100, captured 115. We captured 100 bicycles used by enemy reconnaissance troops, and 35 motor vehicles, as well as 100 machine guns.
(Letter, Report After Action Against Enemy - September 1944, Hq 5th Armd Div)
During 2 September, the enemy withdrew rapidly to the North but he was not sufficiently motorized at this time to get out all his troops and material. At NOYON, however he fought with determination, using reinforced infantry battalions of the 348th Infantry Division and various elements of other Divisions to slow down our advance. At 0030, 2 September, the left column of CCB encountered enemy anti-tank troops and infantry at GAGNY. At 0525, both columns were still advancing slowly against stiff resistance. The right column was approaching NOYON; the left approaching GAGNY. The left column had found that bridges over canals were out and a crossing was not found until 0845, after which time the advance of this column was again rapid. The right column cleared NOYON at 0915. The enemy resistance was no longer heavy. Some anti-tank troops and some infantry were encountered. At 2225 the task force or CCB which composed of the Combat Command's right column, was in bivouac in vicinity CONDE-sur-EXCAUL. The remainder of the Division was bivouacked off the road to the South with the Division CP in vicinity of MAING. At 2230 orders were received to halt the advance on the general line LANDREEIS - LE CATEAU - CAMBRAI, to await orders and protect the Corps' left flank. At this time however the Division had reached the original Corps objective well north or the line mentioned in the new order. Enemy casualties for the day: were killed 200; captured 219. We destroyed 21 enemy vehicles and captured two batteries of 105mm howitzers intact. CCA reverted to division control 2 September, and was ordered to assemble in the vicinity of ESNES. Lt col Karl L. Scherer was assigned to the 34th Tank Battalion on this day, and assumed command. Major Foote remained with the Battalion as Executive Officer.
On 3 September road blocks were established and pockets of resistance were cleared in the vicinity of the BELGIAN border around CONDE, and between that city and VALENCIENNES. BRITISH troops passed to the North during the day, sealing off the German troops in a pocket. All day isolated groups of Germans, of them already bivouacking in the area when the Division arrived, made frantic efforts to break through the lines but failed. CCA completed its assembly in the vicinity of ESNES. Division Trains were moved to an assembly area in the vicinity of HAUTEVILLE. During the day the Division killed 150 enemy and captured 531, its biggest bag of prisoners since 13 August. Fifty enemy motor vehicles were destroyed. Between midnight of 3 September and 0700 of 4 September, the Division captured an additional 179 prisoners who were trying to escape to the East.
Orders were received from Corps for movement of the Division to the Southeast. The Division Commander ordered a move on 4 September to assembly areas in the vicinity of WASIGNY: CCA to march in the right zone, CCR in the left zone of the Division; upon arrival in new areas CCR to be prepared to push reconnaissance to seize and hold crossings of the BAR River, CCB to move by way of CONDE-VALENCIENNES - SOLESMES, then to follow Division Headquarters and Division Troops.
While on the march, on the morning of 4 September the Division ordered not to stop in assembly areas as previously ordered but to push on to the East and secure two crossings of the BAR River and MEUSE River in the South portion of the Division Zone. Information was sent to CCA that reports indicated all bridges to have been blown by the enemy and the Combat Command was ordered to secure bridge heads and build bridges. The necessary bridge equipment was attached. CCA was also to make contact with the 4th Infantry Division on the left and elements of the XX Corps on the right. The march continued on schedule. At 1140 CCA reported that the bridge at ORIGNY was out, and that it was building another. At this time CCR had reached LE'PONT de PIERRE. The Division CP was at NANAPPES. At 1630, the main body of CCR had reached MEZIERES, and had made with Troop "C", 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, which reported all bridges in the vicinity MEZIERES to be blown. The troop was reconnoitering for sites there and MOHON. A shortage of fuel prevented CCR from making any further advance. At 2345, CCR was attacking (dismounted) with one company of Infantry from the high ground East of CHARLEVILLE to remove small arms and machine gun fire from the bridge site at MOHON. Orders were issued for CCR to relieve such units of the VII Corps as were in vicinity of MEZIERES. CCA was halted West of VINDRESSE. The Division CP was at WASSIGNY.
CCR was in contact with enemy throughout the night of 4-5 September and was unable to get a sizeable force across the river until 0300, 5 September. The enemy was forced back by 0600, so that work could continue on the MOHON Bridge site. CCA at this time was reconnoitering the river for suitable crossings.
At 0740 CCR reported heavy resistance from fortified positions, all of its infantry was engaged in trying to keep the bridge site clear. By 1040 the work on the bridge at MOHON was progressing rapidly. The bridge was completed at 1500, and the remainder of the command crossed immediately to the high ground East of MEZIERES. The Division CP moved to the vicinity of MONTIGNY SUR VENCE.
At 2050, CCA had secured a bridge site at BAZEILLES and started bridge construction at midnight 5 September. At 0300, 6 September construction was interrupted by an enemy counter-attack. The attack was repulsed and work was resumed on the bridge at 0855 and completed at 1220.
CCR launched its attack at 0800, 6 September in the direction of SEDAN, with axis of advance VIVIOR - VRIGNE - ST MENGES - GIVONNE. At 1015, the advance had carried only about two (2) kilometers, due to enemy road-blocks covered by anti-tank guns, mortars and automatic weapons. This resistance was reduced and the city of SEDAN was taken at 1600. The advance of both CCA and CCR throughout the day was made against a continuous series of road-blocks; CCA progressed about sixteen kilometers, and CCR bivouacked between GIVONNE and VAIGNY. The Reconnaissance Squadron bivouacked at VILLER-VAIGNY, and the Division CP was located in the vicinity of NOYERS. Enemy casualties for 6 September were 48 killed and 116 captured. Enemy forces facing our troops here were the 195th and 199th Security Regiments.
At 0100, 7 September, CCA and CCR were informed that the 28th Infantry Division would attack through them early in the day. All roads were cleared for the advance of the 28th Division. Both combat commands were directed to be prepared to attack through the 28th Division on order. This brief halt came at an opportune time for the Division. There had been a shortage of fuel for the past thirty six hours and most gasoline tanks were about empty. At 1350 V Corps stated that the limited supply of gasoline made it necessary to suspend further advance of the 5th Armored Division. The 28th Infantry Division would continue the advance and orders for 8 September would depend on progress made by them on the 7th and on the gasoline supply.
The supply and maintenance situation requires some review and consideration here, Progress thru the FORET DE CONPIEGNE had been rather slow and units were therefore able to reconstitute basic loads and partially refill reserves of Class I and III supplies from the Army Truckhead which was located in the vicinity of ERMENONVILLE. The combat units which pushed Northwest from the vicinity of COMPIEGNE to the Belgian border Northwest of VALENCIENNES covered a distance of approximately one hundred (100) miles in thirty (30) hours. Several vehicles were destroyed by enemy action during this operation and several others were damaged and required evacuation. No resupply of fuel was available at the Army Truckheads to reconstitute basic loads of Class III supplies. Supply trucks which normally evacuated PWs were waiting back at the Army Truckhead so the evacuation of prisoners became a major problem. In several cases they were left in charge of the FFI to be turned over to the U. S, Troops who mere following. When the Division was shifted to the area Southwest of SEDAN a march of approximately ninety (90) miles involved. CCA, which had been detached, reverted to Division control very low on gasoline. Many vehicles arrived at the assembly area with empty vehicular tanks. Some tanks had to drop out and await fuel trucks which had been able to draw a very limited amount of gasoline at the Truckhead in the vicinity of SOISSONS. Vehicles which had fallen out due to mechanical trouble or enemy action were scattered along the path taken by the combat elements in the drive to VALENCIENNES. Repair and evacuation of crews made "on the spot" repairs in most cases, but were then confronted with the problem o f getting sufficient fuel to drive the vehicles through. The cleanup of this area required approximately a week before all vehicles were evacuated or returned. Engine and track replacements were becoming critical.
The supply of gasoline continued to be critical and operations were on a day by day basis dependent upon availability of gasoline and diesel fuel. Corps allocated gasoline to the Division and the breakdown to units of the Division was indicated by Division Headquarters, At time Division furnished fifty (50) trucks to transport gasoline from the Army Railhead at SOISSONS to the Truckhead in the vicinity of MEZIERES. The Truckhead remained in this location until after LUXEMBOURG had been occupied by the Division. The supply line to the combat elements became elongated to such a degree that the more advanced elements were making a turn-around in excess of two hundred (200) miles to pick up their daily supplies.
Replacement of engines and tracks for tanks were received in considerable number so that the mechanical and combat efficiency or these vehicles was materially increased. The rapid movement over cobblestone roads had caused abnormal wear on tank tracks. Many radial engines which were replaced had operated in tanks in excess of fifteen hundred (1500) miles.
At 1730, 7 September, orders were received from V Corps for movement for the Division on 8 September. The 85th Cav Rcn Sq was attached to the 28th Infantry Division. CCA was to move behind the 28th Infantry Division on axis DOUZY - SACHY - CARIGNAN - FROMY - THOMME LA LONG - SOME THONE - HOUDRIGNY - ST MARP - LATOUR and bivouac in the vicinity of LATOUR, The Division Head-quarters would follow CCA to the vicinity of VIRTON; Headquarters Division Artillery would follow Division Headquarters. CCB was to cross the river at PONT MAUGIS, follow Division Artillery and bivouac in vicinity VILLERS LA LOUE. The 22nd Armd Engr Bn was ordered to follow CCB and bivouac in the vicinity or the Division Artillery; Division Trains to cross behind the 22nd Armd Engr Bn at PONT MAUGIS and bivouac in the vicinity THOMME LA LONG. CCR was ordered to move at 1200 behind the 28th Infantry Division on axis VIDAIGNE - VILLERS CERNAY - FRANCHEVAL - ESCOMBRETS - MESSINCOURT - CHASSE- PIERRE - FLORENVILLE PIN VAMOIGNE - TINTIGNY and bivouac vicinity MARLE.
The move was started by CCA at 0815, 8 September. At 1600, 8 September orders were received from V Corps that the 85th Cav Rcn Sq Mecz would be relieved from attachment to the 28th Inf Div at 0815, 8 Sep and that early 9 Sep the 5th Armored Division would pass through the 28th Infantry Division. Orders were issued to CCA to advance on axis VIRTON -AUBANGE - LUXEMBOURG; to CCR to adance on axis IZEL - ST MARIE - ARLON - GUIRSCH - MERSCH; the remainder of the Division to follow route of CCA. The Corps Commander authorized the Commanding General, 5th Armored Division to continue at his discretion to the North - South railroad through the city of LUXEMBOURG and reconnoiter to the German Border. All units, or the Division were closed in bivouac by 2300, 8 September and CCA and CCR were prepared to attack early 9 September. When the advance was resumed on 9 September the enemy resistance had stiffened somewhat. Numerous roadblocks, craters and blown bridges were found in the path of the Division. The first enemy contact was at 1300 by CCA East of FROMY. CCR at this time had reached ETALLE where a ford was used to cross the stream located there. Air support was bombing and strafing in front of both combat command columns.
In front of CCR was a column of horse drawn artillery attempting to escape to Northeast to HABAY LA NEUVE. The resistance in front of CCA was a force of bicyclists and infantry, some vehicles and anti-tank guns. At 1500 CCA had advanced about ten kilometers and CCR was approaching HABAY, engaged with the enemy and progressing slowly, At 1645 CCA was fighting enemy tanks just East of BASCHARAGE, with more tanks reported coming from LUXEMBOURG. CCR had cleared HABAY and was moving on LOTTERET. The Division CP was located at AUBANGE. The air support was doing magnificent work in front of both columns and the advance continued. At 2200 CCA was still in seven (7) kilometers West of the city of LUXEMBOURG and were interdicting main escape routes from the city. CCR was just South of USELDANGE. The city of ARLON was reported as being heavily mined and was by-passed by CCR. The losses of both columns in equipment and personnel for the day were very light. During the day our air support destroyed 12 tanks and 70 other enemy vehicles.
The advance was continued on 10 September and at 0945 the city of LUXEMBOURG was taken by CCA. At 1000 the Division Commander escorted Prince Felix of LUXEMBOURG into the city. At 1100 CCA reached the town of MERSCH after a brisk two and a half hour fight against AT guns. The bridge was blown as CCR column approached. The railroad bridge at MERSCH was wired but not blown. CCR removed demolitions and floored the bridge for use in crossing. It also used a ford one mile North of the town and was crossing there at 1350 against slight resistance. CCA captured intact the bridge leading from the city of Luxembourg and was proceeding against moderate resistance at 1435. CCB was ordered to move on a route between CCA and CCR to assembly area in vicinity of ERMSDORF. Moving as ordered it found bridges out at STIENSEL and LOPSTAL, used fords to cross, and was advancing slowly against undefended road blocks at 1600. At 2230 one column of CCA was one and one half kilometers West of RAMMELDANGE. The other column was four kilometers East of LUXEMBOURG. CCB was at BLASCHETTE, CCR was at SCHRONDWEILER, all meeting scattered resistance. At 2340 CCB reported that it was heavily engaged with an infantry force that had adequate large and small mortars, artillery and tank support. The Combat Command had been reduced in strength by a task force which had been left to protect the city of LUXEMBOURG. On this date 255 enemy were killed and 180 captured, while the Air Force continued its successful bombing of enemy vehicles, destroying 11 tanks, and about 70 miscellaneous vehicles.
The advance continued on 11 September, CCB advancing against determined resistance, CCB was ordered to proceed to assembly area in the vicinity of SCHLINDER and to push reconnaissance to the German border. The move was made without any enemy contact and the first patrol crossed the German border the vicinity of BRUCHERHOF. CCA at 1900 was given a special mission of sending a light, fast force to seize the radio station at JUNGLINSTER. At 2235 instructions were received from V Corps that the 112th Infantry Regiment was attached to the Division; that the Division's primary mission was to clean up enemy pockets of resistance in the LUXEMBOURG area and to hold the area secure. The 85th Cav Rcn Sq (less A, B, and C Troops); was moved to LUXEMBOURG to relieve the task force of CCA, to protect the city and to patrol the Division South boundary to the East to the MOSELLE River. At 2100, CCA having fought against heavy enemy resistance all day, had reached a point about three kilometers west of MUNSBACH.
At 2400, 11 September, the Division's troops were in a general Northwest - Southeast line from point along the OUR River South of RODERSHAUSEN to a point South of GREVENMACHER on the MOSELLE River.
At 0850, 12 September, CCA reported that the radio station at JUNGLINSTER had been seized intact. The 112th Inf Regt was ordered to relieve the detachment of CCA at JUNGLINSTER and to protect the radio station, the remainder of the regiment being assembled in the vicinity of OBERANVEN. Enemy resistance in CCA's sector on 12 September was mostly roadblocks and delaying actions. By 2300 the command was in an assembly area in the vicinity of LITTIG. CCB and CCR continued to clear areas and with the 112th Inf Regt to patrol the Southern boundary of the Division from LUXEMBOURG East to the German border.
A demonstration against enemy fortifications of the SIEGFRIED LINE with tank, tank destroyer and artillery fire was ordered by Corps and was carried out beginning at 1500, 13 September. Firing was coordinated by the Division Artillery Command. Orders were received for CCB to prepare to move North on two hours notice on Corps order. Patrolling as well as the demonstration activities was carried on through 13 September. Patrols in CCA's sector were meeting roadblocks and enemy resistance in the vicinity of GREVENMACHER. There was some resistance to the North across the entire sector. CCR delivered direct tank and artillery fire on enemy pill boxes between AMMELDINGEN and GENTINGEN. No enemy fire was returned. At 1925, orders were received directing the Division to take V Corps objective Number 3 (high ground in vicinity of METTENDORF) and Number 6 (BITBURG). CCA with one battalion of infantry attached was to continue to protect the city of LUXEMBOURG and the South (Right) flank of the Division; CCB was to continue present mission and was alerted for movement on Corps order; 85th Cav Rcn Mecz to remain on present mission. The Division Engineer was ordered to furnish CCR such engineer equipment and material as were available and needed, to make an attack. Patrol activities continued during the night of 13-14 September. Enemy was contacted along the entire line. The 112th Inf Regt reported that the road between MINDEN and EDINGEN was mined by the enemy with electric mines and that the town of ECHTERNACH was still held by enemy. The 112th Inf Regt was prepared to repel any counterattack from the South or East.
The First Battalion of the 112th Infantry Regiment joined CCR at 1200, 14 September, and CCR attacked promptly, crossing the border near WALLENDORF where the OUR river and the SAUER River join, and the boundary becomes the SAUER River. At 1330 CCR reported enemy resistance as mostly automatic fire. Our artillery fired white phosphorus on pillboxes and dougouts on the forward slope of the hill and brought the enemy out in the open and under our machine gun fire. Company B, 47th Armd Inf Bn with one platoon of tanks attached proceeded to clear out the town of WALLENDORF and to take the high ground beyond. At 1545, the 1st Bn 112th lnf Regt was clearing out remaining enemy resistance in WALLENDORF and the high ground to East of town had been taken by the tanks and armored infantry. At this time a force of CCA was in contact with enemy bicycle troops at MOSDORF and was attempting to enter Germany at that point. The advance of CCR was steady and at 1825 the bulk of its force was across the river and on the high ground East of WALLENDORF with a tank destroyer force on each side of the town and a force of the 112th Inf Regt pushing North up the valley. The resistance in front of CCR was heavy and obscured by smoke. CCA reported at this time that the enemy was infiltrating bicycle troops across the river and that none of their patrols had been able to Cross into Germany. At 1820, CCR reported that it was having the greatest difficulty in getting off the ridge toward BIESDORF, that the valley beyond was strongly held. It should be noted that during the entire operation within Germany in the WALLENDORF area, the enemy at all times had the advantage of observation. Had continuous advance been permitted , this advantage would have been overcome. The 1st Bn, 112th Inf Regt reported anti-tank guns in the valley. CCR was blowing up and burning block houses, many of which were inter-connected by tunnels. At 2230, the 112th Inf Regt was ordered to relieve CCA at daylight, 15 September, in the Southern sector and to take over he entire sector. CCA was ordered to assemble in the vicinity of COLBET. Both CCA and 122th Inf Regt were to prevent all civilian traffic to and from Germany. CCA attempted to push a patrol into Germany at METZDORF. The patrol was met by small arms, mortar and artillery fire, and forced to withdraw. Enemy casualties: 12 killed. CCR resumed the attack at 0800 15 September. Visibility was very poor. Some enemy tanks had moved into its front during the night and at 1000 it was advancing against heavy resistance which consisted of enemy tanks and some 88mm guns. At 1110 the Commanding Officer, CCR, reported that his right column was moving into HOMMERDINGEN, his left column was still heavily engaged with enemy tanks. The 1st Bn, 112th Inf, was in BIESDORF at 1240. At 1515, CCR was on objective #3 and had forces clearing out the enemy between HOMMERDINGEN and CRUCHTEN.
At 1530 the 112th Infantry Regiment reported it had crossed a six man patrol into Germany at one kilometer South of WEITERBACH; that at 1100, 14 September, the patrol had crossed an enemy foot bridge and penetrated about five hundred yards; only contact was a few enemy who fled. The patrol recrossed the foot bridge at 0630 15 September, and received machine gun fire from the West bank of river. CCA reported reconnaissance patrols across the river at BOLLENDORF and at one kilometer North of ECHTERNACH at 1440, 15 September. At 1700, CCA closed in new area around COLBET,. At 1740 CCR's forward elements were in ENZEN and the enemy was withdrawing to the North in front of the Force on Hill 407. The axis of advance for the right column was ENZEN - STOCKEM - BETTINGEN. The head of this column was entering STOCKEM at 1800 and at 1900 were just South of BETTINGEN, receiving heavy artillery fire at this point. At 2100 the 112th Inf Regt had affected its move into the sector of and relief of CCA. Its 3rd Bn was in position to the East of LUXEMBOURG and the 2d Battalion and Regimental CP in the vicinity of BROUCH. At 2300, CCR was stopped by darkness at BETTINGEN. At 2310, 15 September orders were received from V Corps to secure objectives #3 and #6 and advance North on PRUM and PRONSFELD, that CCB was released to Division control for this mission, and that CCA was to take over protection of the entire Duchy or LUXEMBOURG. CCR was ordered to continue its mission and to "tuck up" the tail or its column so that CCB would be able to cross the river. During the night enemy patrols worked into the ford in the vicinity Of WALLENDORF and caused much trouble. They were cleared out at daylight 16 September. Enemy casualties for 15 September: killed, 127; captured, 441.
At 0135, 16 September CCA reported that enemy anti-tank guns firing from stone retaining walls on the East bank of the river had knocked out three tanks at 1000 yard range. Patrols reported that the enemy line across their entire front was heavily defended by infantry with many machine guns and supported by anti-tank guns. The East bank of the river was occupied by dug-in infantry and the attitude of the enemy indicated they were on full alert for an attack by our forces. CCR continued its advance on 16 September; visibility was about fifty yards. CCB was ordered at 0930 to move the head of its column just North of REISDORF, prepared to cross the river. At 1015 CCR reported that enemy tanks had moved into the area Southeast of NIEDERSGEGEN and were holding up the movement of its artillery and trains. CCB was ordered to send a force to help relieve CCR's rear elements. At 1500 CCR was still up against heavy enemy resistance and had made no advance during the day. At 2145, CCR reported that the enemy was counter-attacking five hundred yards Southeast at WETTLINGEN. The 1st Bn, 112th Inf Regt was dug in at WETTLINGEN.
The right tank column was at FREILINGEN and the attached 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion was at ENZEN. At this time CCB was closed in an area South of HOMMERDINGEN with a force engaged in clearing out NIEDERSGEGEN. At 2250 orders were received from V Corps to consolidate the Division forces on objective #3; to send strong patrols to develop the enemy situation in the BITBURG area; to mop up the SIEGFRIED LINE to the West and Southwest; to make no attack on BITBURG except on Corps order; CCA to move South with CP in vicinity or BEIDWEILER and to maintain a mobile force to attack any threat to the Corps South flank of the city of LUXEMBOURG. During the course of the afternoon and night 16 September, CCR repulsed my three enemy counterattacks and was under continuous enemy artillery fire. The Division captured 212 prisoners during the day.
At 0645, 17 September the roadblocks or CCB at the ford in the vicinity of WALLENDORF were receiving enemy machine gun and mortar fire. At 0745 CCR reported that its artillery was firing on enemy tanks to the Northeast; that the 1st Bn, 112th Inf Regt was receiving enemy machine gun and artillery fire Northeast of WETTLINGEN: that the right tank column was fighting in the vicinity of STOCKEM; that artillery fire was coming from the North, Northeast and East and enemy tanks were to the Northeast and East. At 0830 CCR reported the fifth enemy counterattack repulsed, that a total of eight enemy tanks were knocked out, and that a company of tanks was assisting the 1st Bn, 112th Inf. Regt, to counterattack the enemy. The enemy attacks were supported by at least forty tanks. The counterattacks continued throughout the morning of 17 September and at 1230, CCR withdrew the 1st Bn, 112th Inf Regt, to a position east of STOCKEM. The Battalion had had heavy casualties from enemy artillery fire with only small ground pressure on them at that time. At 1425 CCR reported that the general enemy movement seemed to be from North to South and from East to West. An enemy attack from North and East had been repelled with fourteen enemy tanks destroyed. Visibility at this time was about six hundred yards. At 1600 orders were received from V Corps for operations 18 September. The Division was to patrol toward the BITBURG area, to continue cleaning up the SIEGFRIED LINE to South and Southwest; CCA to keep close touch with the situation in the LUXEMBOURG area and be prepared to act promptly in the event of a threat there. At 1700, CCB reported a force in the woods North of AMMELDINGEN, that the enemy was again at the ford South of AMMELDINGEN and that a platoon had been sent to clear them out. The CO, CCB, was planning to cease operations for the day because of low visibility and heavy mud. Tank mobility was being greatly hampered by mud. At 1800 CCR reported the 1st Bn, 112th Inf Regt, digging in on high ground west of STOCKEM. At 1915 CCA reported that enemy was holding bridgeheads at ECHTERNACH, WASSERBILLIG and GREVEMACHER with dug-in infantry, light machine guns, light and heavy mortars and artillery. At 2000 CCB reported all operations were mired down and that each group had been ordered to defend in place; that all elements were under enemy artillery fire. At 2200 CCR reported its forces on a line from seven hundred yards South to STOCKEM to the North side of Hill 407; that the 112th Inf Regt was receiving artillery time fire and that some artillery fire was falling over most of the area.
By night of 17 September our bridgehead had reached its greatest size. It Was the approximate shape of a horseshoe and extended from a point South or GETTIGEN on the East Bank of river, South of HUTTINGEN - METTENDORF, Southeast towards STOCKEM to where CCR had been forced back from BETTINGEN, then Southwest back to the SAUER RIVER at a point about halfway between WALLENDORF and BOLLENDORF. Its area was about 35 square miles. On this day the Germans lost 325 killed tracks destroyed.
By midnight 17 September the ground activity in CCR sector had almost completely stopped and at 1000, 18 September, there still had been no contact with enemy ground troops. However, all units of the command were still under enemy artillery fire.
The Division CP moved to MOSTRORF at 1100, 18 September. A report from CCB at 1200 indicated one column advancing in the direction of GENTINGEN, and a second column advancing on KORPORICH and HUTTINGEN. The Combat Command was continuing with mopping up and demolition work. Both columns were moving on foot, progress was very slow. The enemy had again penetrated to the vicinity of the ford during the night and laid some mines, which our troops later cleared. At 1530 CCB reported that increased enemy activity was being encountered and that three tanks had been lost from enemy rocket-launcher fire. CCA was ordered, at 1500, to send one of the other two battalions of the 112th Inf Regt to replace the 1st Bn, then with CCR. The activity of CCR on this date had been limited to the firing of its artillery on enemy in its sector. The 1st Bn, 112th Inf Regt, had heavy casualties from enemy artillery fire, and a platoon of Company A 628th Tank. Destroyer Battalion had stayed with the infantry to its last round of ammunition in assisting in the withdrawal. At 2125, the enemy artillery fire in CCR sector bad slackened considerably. The town of METTENDORF was on fire and found to be more heavily occupied than previously thought.
A report was received from CCA that an estimated battalion of enemy artillery was in position in the vicinity East of GREVENMACHER, that civilians had been warned that the enemy was to attack through the zone GREVENMACHER -WORMERDANGE - REMICH. At 0400, 19 September, CCR reported enemy vehicles moving in its sector and placed artillery concentrations on them. Considerable movement of enemy tanks was reported in the vicinity of METTENDORF. At 0740 the positions of CCR were being heavily were being heavily shelled by enemy artillery. At 0800 the enemy launched a two-pronged tank and infantry attack on CCR, moving Southeast and Southwest from METTENDORF. Eighteen enemy Mark IV tanks are known to have been knocked out by CCR in repelling this attack. At the same time CCB reported enemy working West and Northwest from BIESDORF with continuous light and medium enemy artillery fire coming from East and Northeast. At 0910 CCR reported its CP had moved to HOMMERDINGEN to avoid enemy artillery fire. At 1037 CCB reported that BIESDCRF was clear of enemy. At 1130 enemy infantry attacked and took the bridge at WALLENDORF but were forced out again and had withdrawn by 1250 to Southeast edge of WALLENDORF. At 1225 CCB was attacked by enemy tanks from the North. CCR was attacked at 1325 from the Northeast by enemy tanks. Both attacks were repulsed. At 1455 the bridge at WALLENDORF was reported secure. Both CCR and CCB were still receiving heavy artillery fire. The 2d Bn, 112th Inf Regt; going up to relieve the 1st Bn with CCR had been halted by fire North of BIESDORF. CCB was ordered to send a force to relieve the pressure on them so they could continue. This pressure was neutralized by CCB at 1600.
At 1900, orders were received from V Corps for operations for operations for 20 September: To consolidate present bridgehead positions and prepare for offensive action to North, Northeast or South, and continue protection of LUXEMBOURG area. The 1st B., 112th Inf Regt, having been relieved from CCR was given the mission of protecting the bridge at WALLENDORF for the night of 19-20 September. At 1800 the Commanding Officer, Division Artillery, was ordered to move all artillery to the West of the German border without delay.
At 1830 CCR was ordered to have the 2d En, 112th Inf Regt, protect its East flank while the remainder or CCR withdrew west of the frontier to a position South of DIEKIRCH. CCB was ordered to consolidate its position, prepared to follow CCR on 20 September. At 1845 the Commanding Officer, Division Artillery was given a fire line and ordered to lay heavy fire East of the line to cover the withdrawal of CCR. At 2005, orders were received from V Corps that CCB would not be withdrawn West of the German border except on Corps order. At 2145 CCB reported that its position had been established as ordered; that B Company, 81st Tank Bn was heavily engaged by enemy infantry anti-tank guns and artillery on the outskirts of BIESDORF: that they were sealing off the town and stopping for the night. At 2247, CCB was instructed that it would hold the bridgehead until Corps permitted withdrawal. The 2d Bn, 112th Inf Reg was holding on the road between BIESDORF and WALLENDORF, CCA had continued patrol activities on 19 September with some contact with enemy patrols in its sector.
By 0110, 20 September, all of the artillery of the Division had displaced West of the river. CCR's headquarters was just South or GILSDORF. CCR completed its withdrawal and was closing in assembly area at 0500. During the day the 1st and 2d Battalions, 112th Inf Regt, were attacked by the enemy but held the WALLENDORF bridge under heavy artillery and mortar fire and in close contact with enemy ground troops. CCB continued its pressure North of the bridge. An enemy tank and infantry attack from the North was repulsed. CCA continued its patrol activity, with negative reports. CCA artillery destroyed one armored vehicle and a freight train in the vicinity of GREVENMACKER. At 1605, a heavy artillery concentration was placed on the hostile forces in BIESDORF, followed by a strafing from planes. At 1200, CCB reported the 1st and 2d Battalions, 112th Inf Regt, were moving into position on the right flank, and that the air support was temporarily neutralizing the enemy. At 1745, orders were received from V Corps for operations 21 September: Continue mission under current orders maintain and improve all positions, mop up areas and prepare for further advance to the East. At 2130 CCR was ordered to place on tank company in position along the road East of the river and South of WALLENDORF, to prevent movement of enemy along the river. During the night the enemy demolished both the treadway bridge and timber bridge at WALLENDORF and mined approaches on German side.
Lt. Colonel Gilsen, Commanding 15th Armd Inf Bn was wounded in action and evacuated, Major Giorlando, Executive Officer, assumed command.
At 0730, 21 September, CCB's tanks mere attacked by the enemy with rifle and machine gun fire. Heavy fog prevented observation of enemy activity. At 0815, V Corps ordered aggressive patrolling to be carried out in CCA's sector.
At 900, CCB was heavily shelled by enemy artillery. The enemy pressure on CCB's sector continued to be heavy to about 1500 when it lessened somewhat. The Commanding Officer, CCB, estimated casualties of 30 to 50 per cent had been inflicted on the enemy. The area was still under heavy enemy artillery fire at that time. The Division Artillery reported that several enemy artillery batteries had been observed and shelled and that some anti-aircraft guns had been spotted and destroyed. A heavy gun disguised as a house was shelled and bombed by the Air Forces, At 1700, CCB reported twenty enemy tanks crossing the ford at NIEDERSGEGEN. Air Support stopped them; one was known to be destroyed. At 1930 CCB was ordered by dropped message to withdraw West of the river, starting at 2130, to move by route WALLENDORF - RIESDORF - BITTENDORF - GILSDORF to vicinity INGLEDORF; CCR was ordered to cover the withdrawal of CCB and to maintain forces along the river at WALLENDORF until further orders; the Division Artillery to deliver heavy fire to cover the withdrawal.
The withdrawal was executed as planned and at 0400, 22 September, CCB had cleared the ford and was going into an assembly area. Throughout the day of 22 September artillery fires were delivered on enemy targets. Air support was also employed. The 1st and 2d Battalions, 112th Inf Regt reverted to and rejoined their regiment with CCA and the Division CP moved to the vicinity of FELS. CCA continued patrol activity.
The total enemy casualties and material destroyed during operations around the bridgehead across OUR - SAUR RIVERS in German territory from 14 September to the night 21-22 September 1944 is as follows:
5TH ARMD DIV U.S, AIR FORCE TOTALS
Enemy Personnel Casualties
5th US Air Armored Force Total Killed 2,353 150 (est) 2,503 Prisoners 1,218 1,218 Totals 3,571 150 3,721
Enemy Material Destroyed
|Type||Destroyed or Abandoned||Evacuated||Total|
|Tanks (all types)||45||24||59|
|Arty (Incl AA-AT)||50||92||142|
|Hvy Inf Wpn, 1t AA||17||17|
No Air Force damage or casualties are included in any totals for the 5th Armored Division as given in this narrative other than in the above
On 23 September it was planned to move CCR from its position along the river to the vicinity of DIEKIRCH, The enemy at mid-day placed a heavy mortar and artillery concentration on CCR so the plan to withdraw was abandoned and they were ordered to remain in place. At 1815, 23 September, orders were received for our operations for 24 September: To continue present assigned missions and to employ sufficient forces across the Division zone to prevent enemy from crossing the border.
Instructions were also received that one Combat Team of the 83rd Infantry Division would arrive in an area to the South of the Division on 23 September; that the 83rd Infantry Division would close in this area on 25 September. At 2130 a directive from V Corps ordered agressive action to be taken at once in CCA sector by patroling across the river into enemy held territory, and that demonstration artillery fires and air support as available, be placed on any known enemy targets.
Lt. Colonel Glenn C, Dickenson was assigned to the 15th Armored Infantry Battalion, joined, and assumed command on 23 September.
On 24 September CCA made a demonstration before GREVENMACHER. Visibility was poor due to rain. Mud greatly hampered movement. demonstration activities were discontinued at 1300. Patrol activity in its sector had no enemy contact to this time. Some enemy artillery fire fell in the sector during the day.
At 0815, 25 September orders received from V Corps stated that when the Second Combat Team of the 83rd Infantry Division had closed in the LUXEMBOURG area the 112th Infantry Regiment would move to rejoin the 28th Infantry Division; that when the entire 83rd Infantry Division had closed in, CCA would be moved North to join the remainder of the Division; that the 5th Armored Division would retain responsibility for the Northern half of the Duchy of LUXEMBOURG. At 0830 CCB was ordered to relieve CCR at the frontier during the day. At 0825 CCA reported it was to make a demonstration in the WASSERBILLING area. One boat load of enemy was sunk by artillery fire while attempting to cross the river near WASSERBILLING. At 1900 the relief of CCR by CCB was completed. CCR was assembled in the vicinity of DIEKIRCH. At 1910 V Corps ordered the Division to maintain sufficient forces along the German border to prevent enemy infiltration into the Corps sector, the 112th Infantry Regiment to be released at daylight, 26 September.
At 1000 26 September the 85th Cav Rcn Sq was relieved in the LUXEMBOURG City area. The 112th Inf Regt moved at 1015 to rejoin the 28th Inf Div. At 1245 the 83rd Inf Div had closed in its area and had completely taken over the sector from CCA. At 1505, CCB reported that patrols on its right flank caught six enemy pulling a barge and that the enemy were killed and the barge destroyed; that patrols on its left had caught intermittent enemy patrols or which most had been killed. At 1515 orders were issued to CCA: 85th Cav Rcn Sq less C and D Troops attached to CCA at once, CCA to move a light force to the North and take over the sector held by the 102d Cav Group, relief to be effected before dark; boundary between CCA and CCB: SAUER RIVER - BITTENDORF - GENTIGEN; CCA less its light force to move North that day, into assembly area at daylight 27 September in vicinity of CONSTHUM.
The force from CCA completed taking over from the 102d Cav Group at 2200, 26 September, During the day, 26 September air support bombed and strafed the area GODDENDORF - WALLENDORF - AMMELDINGEN. V Corps reported at 2100 that one truck had been captured by the enemy in the vicinity of RODER and that the enemy was constantly infiltrating in that area. CCA moved at 0800 27 September and closed in area at 1700. The Division Trains moved to ETTELBRUCK, closed in area at 1800.
The only enemy activity during the day was a small amount of artillery fire during the afternoon and some enemy air activity from 2100 to 2400, Information was received from V Corps that elements of VIII Corps would arrive in the area on 29 September.
At 1130, 28 September, a report from Corps stated that there was enemy activity in the town of HOSINGEN, that the 28th Inf Div was evacuating the town. CCA was instructed to coordinate with the 28th Inf Div and clear the area of enemy. At 1130 CCA reported it was in contact with a company of enemy infantry just East of WEILER. At 1135 Division Artillery Headquarters reported enemy at the German pontoon bridge at VIADEN and enemy troops on West side of the river. Air support was given the bridge as a target, results not reported. During the afternoon CCA cleared the draw running from the vicinity of DORSCHEID to the vicinity or RODERSHAUSEN, reporting area clear at 1800. It reported also that contact with enemy patrols of from five to twenty men had been made during the afternoon. At 2220 CCB reported considerable movement of enemy South of WALLENDORF and enemy air activity over the area.
On 29 September there was no contact with the enemy. Artillery concentrations were fired on BOLLENDORF and on enemy vehicles in vicinity of DAHNEN. At 2000 Field Order number 28 was received from V Corps: The Division, when relieved by elements of VIII Corps, was to assemble in the area around the town of FAYMONVILLE, BELGIUM, prepared to pass through the 4th and 28th Infantry Division on corps order and to spearhead the V Corps attack through the SIEGFRIED LINE; upon relief, to move the 85th Cav Rcn Sq to the North to relieve Corps Troops in the zone between V. Corps' temporary to the North boundary and VII Corps' permanent South boundary; to screen the assembly of V Corps, maintain contact with VII Corps, and protect V Corps' left flank; the 85th Cav Rcn Sq attached to 102d Cavalry Group on arrival in new area.
The only contact with enemy on 30 September was a patrol in CCB sector fifteen to twenty strong. V Corps gave permission for the Division to extend its new assembly area Southwest to the line RECHT -BORN if needed.
Total enemy casualties for the month of September were: killed, 3387; captured 3087; tanks captured and destroyed, 61; motor vehicles captured and destroyed, 398; artillery, captured and destroyed, including AAA and AT art, 138; infantry heavy weapons captured and destroyed, 192, also captured were 8 airplanes intact; several hundred reconnaissance bicycles; 1 warehouse, containing miscellaneous air force equipment valued at $2,000,000.
During the comparatively static situation in LUXEMBOURG, units had had an opportunity to perform maintenance, to evaluate losses, and to salvage personal equipment and clothing.
In the penetration of the SIEGFRIED LINE equipment and material losses were heavier than at any other like period of time in the campaign. Supply and evacuation was difficult due to inability to protect the supply line within German territory.
In the previous phases of the campaign it had been necessary for the combat units to keep their combat trains close behind for protection of the trains. This policy resulted in abnormal losses in GERMANY when the trains areas were subjected to enemy artillery and mortar fire. The withdrawal from GERMANY was accomplished with the evacuation of the majority or the damaged vehicles which were repairable.
After the unit trains had withdrawn from GERMANY CCB found itself cut off and running low or ammunition, gasoline and water. An armored supply train was formed using half-track, personnel carriers from one of the Armd Inf Bns to fight its way up to the troops. Supplies were delivered and the combat command was able to withdraw under cover of darkness.
For the few remaining days of the month the Division was on a defensive mission which permitted time for an organized plan of inspection and maintenance. The vehicles and personal equipment of the Division were rehabilitated in readiness for continued operations.
On 28 September a convoy or 80 trucks was sent back to NORMANDY to bring forward duffle bags and baggage. Arrangements were made for subsequent inside storage in the city of LUXEMBOURG.
Following are comments for the month of September 1944.
Section 1 - Personnel Matters
a. Replacements: In general the comments made on August operations still applicable. The practice of making almost daily requisitions found to work well and was continued. The Replacement Battalion serving the command was moved closer to it thereby greatly facilitating the receipt of replacements. The quality of replacements, as in the preceding month ranged from very satisfactory to excellent. Difficulty was still experienced in obtaining certain categories of specialists. Too much time elapsed between requisition and receipt of personnel. This resulted in important positions remaining unfilled over too long a period; and in MOS being converted to meet the requisitions--sometimes without sufficient accuracy. It is appreciated that, this being a question of stockage, it goes back ultimately to training necessary specialists at home in sufficient numbers and of the needed kinds. To the extent that numbers and diversity of specialists available as replacements can be increased, it should be done.
The number or our men returned to duty continued unsatisfactory. The present policy of holding them far 30 days before use as replacements for other units is not enough, It is felt that, even at the expense of rendering the Replacement System less flexible, all men as they become fit for duty, should be returned to their own units. Ordinary time lags and non-battle losses would largely off-set overstrength resulting from such a policy. Moreover, if commandeers were assured of getting back their own men, the number or men requisitioned would be reduced.
b. Graves Registrations and Burial: Though there was heavy fighting during the month, in only two cases were hasty burials found necessary.
c. Morale and Discipline: The morale and discipline of the command were excellent. Only 15 courts-martial cases were tried throughout the command, AWOL and straggling presented no problem; while the Provost Marshal's reports showed a surprisingly small number of violations of ordinary standing orders such as leaving vehicles unattended, speeding and the like.
d. Special Service: The comments for August 1944 regarding distribution of Px rations, particularly cigarettes remain applicable. While the difficulties caused by lack of transportation or priorities for movement of gasoline, ammunition, etc., are understood and appreciated it should be noted that an inadequate supply of cigarettes becomes more serious as a campaign progresses and reserves are used up.
Section II - Intelligence Matters
1. Observation of German defense against our penetration of Siegfried Line:
a. The German will counter-attack with any force he can collect from a squad up.
b. His counter-attacks were uncoordinated
c. Any penetration into Germany will be met with all the force the enemy can collect and unless other attacks are made simultaneously to tie down enemy forces, he will bring forces from other sectors or the line.
d. The Siegfried Line in itself, although a strong natural position,is not what it was ballyhooed to be by the Germans. Pill-boxes were not built with gun emplacements, or guns of adequate caliber to stop modern tanks. Without strong mobile reserves to attack a penetration (German's original theory of the defense of the line) it will not be too difficult to break. In general the great expenditure or money, material and time the Germans made on the Siegfried Line is as great a waste as the French Maginot Line proved to be.
2. In a fast moving situation it is believed necessary for the Corps to advance a relay radio station in order to maintain contact, Failure to do so results in most undesirable delays in reporting and receiving information.
3. During the month it was possible for the Division to keep a fairly accurate picture of the enemy. This was due to very good reporting upon the of the units of the Division.
4. The importance of the rapid dissemination of information and the results which can be obtained therefrom were well illustrated by the immediate transmittal, to attack bombers in the air, of information received from a PW, resulting in the destruction of a large quantity of enemy material, the killing of a great many personnel and the capture of an entire regiment.
5. Air Reconnaissance continued to be a disappointment, prartially because of weather conditions but principally because it was not readily available and communication with the air was too indirect.
6. The presence of hostile civilians in our area of operation was a constant threat to security. Several cases of civilians giving information to the enemy and of enemy soldiers operating in civilian clothes were found. These conditions call for constant vigilance upon the part of all personnel and extreme activity by CIC.
Section III - Operations
Operations of the Division during the time of the initial penetration of the Siegfried Line again indicated that our tactical principles as taught are sound and that violations of these principles are costly. It is quite apparent that the Armored Division is capable of attacking and penetrating a fortified position such as existed at WALLENDORF. However there are several lessons to be learned from that attack.
a. The day before the attack, the Division demonstrated by fire and troop movements in the same general area as the attack area. This, it was understood, was for the purpose of drawing enemy troops from another sector of the front. The result was that CCR attacked on 14 September, the enemy had troops readily available to counter-attack.
b. The attack of a fortified position, particularly when it involves a river crossing, requires time for planning and coordination. The orders to attack mere received by the Division at 1925 on 13 September. It was 2330 before commanders could be assembled and the Division Commander finished giving orders for the attack which was launched at 1200 the next day. The attack succeeded and the Siegfried Line was completely penetrated but only due to the boldness of execution and the comparative thinness of the Line in that area. Time for planning for daylight reconnaissance, for coordination and for issuance or orders must be allowed.
c. When a penetration is made by any force, and particularly when made by an Armored Division, there must be provided other troops, infantry, to hold open the line of communications, The attack force can go forward only just so far as it can be supplied.
d. The choice of location for a penetration of a fortified position must take into consideration many factors. The density of the fortifications is a major factor, but it may be offset by the nature of the terrain on either side or the point of penetration. If the attack is to be only a limited objective operation, ending in a holding of the ground taken, the penetration should not be made at a point where the attacking - holding force will be subject to dominating terrain on both flanks i,e. a defile. At WALLENDORF, the attack of CCR was stopped by enemy action in its rear not to its front. The Division had insufficient infantry to hold a long line of communications. When the forward progress of the attack was thus stopped, the two CC's were ordered to consolidate and hold. They were forced to do so in the center and bottom of a "saucer", into which, from all sides, the enemy had excellent observation and poured much artillery fire.
e. The attempt to hold ground with assault troops for a considerable period of time proved very expensive. The large number of stationary vehicles offered an excellent target for the enemy. The percentage of infantry to tanks and other assault weapons is too small to permit them to establish dug-in positions of sufficient strength to protect the whole force for any length of time. Assault forces, when momentum has been lost and occupying infantry not available or soon expected, should immediately be withdrawn.
f. During this operation it was necessary in several instances to use platoons of AAA (AW) for direct fire defensive missions. Such use proved to be very effective. Besides the effective coverage of such concentrated fire, the psychological effect upon the enemy was always successful.
Section IV - Supply and Maintenance
1. Units of an Armored Division must be prepared to form armored supply trains, using light armored vehicles. To carry needed supplies to elements over routes which are under small armd fire. The half track personnel carrier is an excellent vehicle for this purpose.
2. When supply lines were abnormally long much unnecessary travel was saved by maintaining radio communication with the Army Truckhead to keep the units of the Division advised of the status of the supplies. This was accomplished by setting up a portion of the Division Quartermaster section at the truckhead with a high power radio set (SCR,399) in the Division Administrative Net.
3. Maintenance personnel should do familiarization fire, of vehicular weapons of all types of combat vehicles in the Division. Weapons of vehicles undergoing repair are a source of added firepower for defense of service areas. In one case a disabled tank which was being evacuated by Ordnance personnel took under fire and destroyed an enemy artillery piece which was firing on the column.
4. Serviceable enemy artillery pieces and ammunition were left by forward units for following troops to evacuate or destroy. This practice might prove disastrous in an exploitation in enemy territory where by-passed enemy troops are protected by the civilian populace.
5. Unit supply officers should be authorized to carry a small stock of personal clothing and equipment to readily re-equip troops whose equipment is lost in a destroyed vehicle. The tactical situation and lengthy supply lines precluded the re-equipping of some such personnel within a period of a week to ten days.
For the Commanding General:
EDWARD G. FARRAND,
Chief of Staff.